To Kill a Mockingbird

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Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Character Analysis

Jem and Scout's friend, who visits Maycomb each summer from his home in Meridian, Alabama. Miss Rachel Haverford is his aunt. Dill is an intensely imaginative and sensitive boy who uses his imagination to hide loneliness and pain: though his mother is divorced, he constantly makes up stories about the greatness of the father he barely knows. Dill is obsessed with Boo Radley.

Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Charles Baker Harris (Dill) or refer to Charles Baker Harris (Dill). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 14 Quotes
Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. "Atticus," his voice was distant, "can you come here a minute, sir?"

Beneath its sweat-streaked dirt Dill's face went white. I felt sick.



Jem was standing in a corner of the room, looking like the traitor he was. "Dill, I had to tell him," he said. "You can't run three hundred miles off without your mother knowin'."

We left him without a word.
Related Characters: Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) (speaker), Jean Louise Finch (Scout), Atticus Finch, Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
Page Number: 187-188
Explanation and Analysis:

Dill has run away from his own house in a town that is quite some distance away, and has snuck into the Finch's home, where Jem has found him hiding under the bed. As Scout watches, Jem calls to their father in order to tell him that Dill is here. Immediately, a line is drawn between Jem, on the one hand, and Scout and Dill, on the other.

Scout takes it for granted that one must never tell on another child – that there are secrets that can't be shared with adults. Jem, however, no longer adheres to this assumption: instead, he acts based on the knowledge that Dill's parents will be worried about him, and that it's the right thing to do to tell Atticus that Dill is here. From Scout's perspective, Jem is a traitor, but this is because she is still a child, while he has begun to grow up. The book doesn't necessarily paint adulthood as always better and more advanced than childhood, but it does suggest that moving into adulthood is an important step, one that Scout isn't yet ready to take.

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Chapter 19 Quotes
“The way that man called him 'boy' all the time an' sneered at him, an' looked around at the jury every time he answered— … It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that—it just makes me sick."
Related Characters: Charles Baker Harris (Dill) (speaker), Tom Robinson, Mr. Gilmer
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:

Dill has begun to cry in the courtroom during the trial of Tom Robinson, so Scout takes him outside. They had been listening to the prosecutor Mr. Gilmer's cross-examination of Tom Robinson. Gilmer – making little attempt to introduce hard evidence with which to convict the defendant – has been essentially trying to bait the jury into succumbing to racism in order to convict him. Dill cannot stand to hear the way Mr. Gilmer is talking to Tom Robinson: for him, the lawyer is essentially treating Tom as a different, inferior species. 

An advantage of having a child narrate To Kill A Mockingbird, and in having other children populate the novel, is that we as readers can look with fresh eyes at appalling prejudices in American society. We may be in danger of growing accustomed to these prejudices, of assuming that they are simply the way the world works. Part of Dill's distraught feelings stem from the dawning realization, as he and Scout grow up, that this is the way the world works: but the way in which he rebels against what is given reminds us of the danger of becoming complacent, and forgetting just how shocking such prejudices really are.

Chapter 31 Quotes
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Atticus Finch, Arthur Radley (Boo), Charles Baker Harris (Dill), Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

After Bob Ewell's attack on the Scout and Jem was thwarted by Boo Radley, Scout accompanies Boo Radley back to his house. She pauses on the Radley porch and looks out at the street. Briefly, we relive the entire trajectory of the novel, from the most significant highlights to the descriptions of everyday life in Maycomb, but through Boo Radley's eyes from within his house. Atticus's lesson, which Scout has remembered from long ago, was that you shouldn't judge someone based on first impressions: instead, you should try to see things from his or her perspective, try to really understand the person behind the appearance. Now she tries to do so, seeing herself and Jem as if they were someone else's children, viewed by a sympathetic stranger.

Of course, Scout has not really pierced Boo Radley's character – she hasn't really gotten to know him – merely by standing on his porch. But her revision of the events of the last year or so are a child's earnest attempt to try. She sees how Boo Radley could have developed a close emotional connection to her and her family even without ever speaking with them. The goodness and empathy that he shows is not on the surface, in the way he talks or looks, but in fact is far more profound.

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Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Charles Baker Harris (Dill) appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Growing Up Theme Icon
...when Scout is six and Jem is nine, a small and imaginative seven-year-old named Charles "Dill" Baker Harris comes to spend the summer with Miss Rachel Haverford, his aunt and the... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Soon, Dill becomes fascinated with the nearby Radley house, and more particularly with the legendary Boo Radley... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Dill tries to think of ways to get Boo to come out, but settles on a... (full context)
Chapter 2
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When summer ends, Dill returns to Mississippi. Scout starts her first year of school. She hates it from the... (full context)
Chapter 4
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Dill arrives for the summer. After an accident rolling a tire that leaves Scout lying on... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Jem and Dill start excluding Scout, who begins to spend more time with Miss Maudie Atkinson, a neighbor... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
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The next day, Dill and Jem get Scout to help them try to slip a note through a window... (full context)
Chapter 6
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On Dill's last night in Maycomb, he and Jem decide to peek into the Radley house. Scout,... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Summer finally comes, but Scout is crushed when Dill doesn't arrive because his mother got remarried. To makes matters worse, Atticus has to leave... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...both to bed. Scout steps on something while climbing into bed, and, with Jem, discovers Dill hiding under her bed. Though Dill wants to keep his presence secret, Jem tells Atticus. (full context)
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Atticus tells Miss Rachel Haverford where Dill is, but lets Dill spend the night. Dill sleeps in Scout's room, and tells her... (full context)
Chapter 15
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...try to hurt Atticus. When Atticus drives into town the next night, Jem, Scout, and Dill sneak out after him. They finally spot Atticus sitting alone, reading, outside the jail. Just... (full context)
Chapter 16
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Though Atticus tells Jem, Scout, and Dill that they shouldn't attend the trial, they sneak in. They arrive late, and can only... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Dill starts to cry and Scout takes him outside. Dill says he can't stand the way... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Courage Theme Icon
Outside the courthouse, Mr. Dolphus Raymond sympathizes with Dill about the way white people treat black people without even stopping to think that blacks... (full context)
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Atticus is making his closing remarks when Dill and Scout get back to their seats. Atticus notes the prosecution's lack of evidence, then... (full context)
Chapter 21
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Calpurnia enters the courtroom. She tells Atticus that Jem, Scout, and Dill are missing. Mr. Underwood says they're sitting in the balcony. Atticus tells them to go... (full context)
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Prejudice Theme Icon
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An hour later, Scout, Jem, and Dill get back to the silent, tense courtroom. The jury is still deliberating. Jem is confident... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Growing Up Theme Icon
...He picks up at random one of Jem's comic books, the Gray Ghost, the book Dill gave Jem years earlier. Atticus reads until she falls sleep, knowing full well that Atticus... (full context)